At Microsoft’s Tech-Ed and Partner Summit in Durban, Microsoft’s Customer and Partner Lead Leane Hannigan hinted to the fact that South Africa might be getting a South African Microsoft store. The company has dedicated stores in a number of regions, which sells all of Microsoft’s products in a retail environment. Although Microsoft has a strong presence in SA, the store concept hasn’t arrived yet.
On the question as to why we don’t have a Microsoft store, Hannigan said it’s about logistics. “It’s a matter of scale. They first want to make sure that’s its successful in the big group areas, like the UK and US, and that’s what they tend to. When the success lands there, they might expand to South Africa”.
It’s a model that has been used in the past, where a product is tested overseas for a while, before being introduced locally. “I’m happy with that model, because by the time it’s gets to South Africa, there is a lot of lessons that have been learned. And we also don’t want anything that we don’t have the ability to provide – in order to provide the best experience to anybody how goes in there”.
But if the store makes its way here, there are a lot of other factors that will dictate the success and price. “There are a lot of things around distribution and shipping costs to get products down. Like any company, when we are shipping from China, we try to do flights as best we can, but then suddenly we can’t offer the right prices to South Africans. Then our partners and consumers will absorb the cost – which is the worst possible scenario.”
For the same reasons, South Africans also didn’t get the first Xbox. “That’s why we didn’t launch the big black Xbox. It just became too costly. We just made a decision, and decided that we would look silly offering those prices to our consumers,” she added.
As for a time frame as to when it might hit SA, local consumers shouldn’t hold their breath. “It hasn’t been discussed yet. In all fairness, we have just only opened four stores internationally,” Hannigan concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor